Carnival Thanksgiving Service Held At St. Adens

By:Curtis Morton

Leeds-England-It is not very often that one will hear of a thanksgiving service to mark a significant milestone of a carnival, much less at a church.

However, such was the case on Sunday 27th August, as a thanksgiving service was hosted at the St. Adens Catholic Church in Leeds, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Leeds carnival.

Welcome remarks were delivered by the officiating priest, Rev. Mark Harwood and Mr. Arthur France M.B. E.  who warmly welcomed all present, with  special mention of the Premier of Nevis, Hon. Vance Amory and Mrs. Amory; an entire delegation from Nevis and the Lady Mayor of Leeds, Ms. Jane Dowson.

Mr. France gave a historical overview of how he and a few trusted friends got the carnival started, fifty years ago, amidst much turmoil and distress, but thanked God that it had matured into the international event that it has become.

Rev. Harwood then presented an interactive sermon, during which he solicited from the members of the congregation, a word to aptly describe carnival. Some persons gave such words as joy, unity, music, fun, food and many more.

The Priest then elaborated on the words to indicate that Jesus endorsed all such words and opined that carnival was not against the beliefs and principles of the Christian faith.

Premier Vance Amory in his remarks endorsed the opinion of the parish priest and went on to elaborate on the journey of his delegation to Leeds.

He made it a point of duty to indicate that the group had to make financial and other sacrifices to get to Leeds and noted that the Nevis Island Administration, only assisted as one of the many sponsors of the trip.

He also noted that his cabinet is confident in the fact that such an investment in the people of the island, is worth it and had no hesitation in endorsing the trip.

Also making a brief presentation, was Lady Mayor, Jane Dowson who warmly welcomed the Nevisian contingent to the city of Leeds and congratulated Mr. France and his team for bringing carnival to Leeds and noted that contrary to other opinions, it was the first carnival to be established in all of Europe.

Also making a distinct impression at the service, was the church’s youthful steel orchestra known as the New World Steel Orchestra (NWSO). They played a couple of songs that really pleased the congregation.

Another stellar moment in the service was the singing of a song, especially written by parishioner, Mrs. Mary Saddler, in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the Leeds carnival.

However, the climaxing point of the service came when the Sugar Hill String band of Nevis was invited to do two renditions.

Members of the congregation got up and danced openly. Even Lady Mayor Dowson found a moment to shake a leg with Premier Amory and the band received a standing ovation at the conclusion of their performance.

The final blessing was performed by Rev. Harwood.

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